Mega tribal festival 'Medaram Jatara' begins in Telangana
PTI | DC Correspondent
Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao will attend and offer prayers at 'Medaram Jatara' on Feburary 18
A devotee along with her daughter sits on a scale to buy jaggery in a quantity equal to her weight to worship tribal deities ahead of the Medaram Jatara festival, at a wholesale shop in Hyderabad. (Photo: AFP)
Hyderabad: The historic 'Sammakka Saralamma Jatara', a four-day mega tribal festival, began at Medaram village in Mulugu district of Telangana on Wednesday with participation of thousands of devotees.
During the biennial 'Medaram Jatara', declared a state festival by the Telangana government, tribal devotees offer obeisance to Goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Saralamma at Medaram which is located in a forest area.
As per folklore, the festival commemorates the fight of Sammakka and Saralamma against the oppression of Kakatiya rulers.
The Adivasis living in forest fringe habitations in several states along the river Godavari congregate once in two years to celebrate the valour of their kin Sammakka and Saralamma. They treat them as Goddesses and hail their bravery in trying to protect them.
On the first day, the traditional arrival of Saralamma on the 'Medaram Gaddhe' (platform) is celebrated, while the second day (Thursday) marks the arrival of Sammakka. The jatara will culminate with 'Vana Pravesham' ritual on Saturday.
Jaggery is the traditional offering made to the deities.
The tribals offer jaggery of their weight considering it to be gold. They also offer red blouse pieces, vermilion, and turmeric to the deities in large quantities. They take a little part of the same as prasadam from the altar back to their homes, officials said.
They also take a holy dip in Jampanna Vagu (stream).
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao will attend and offer prayers at 'Medaram Jatara' on Feburary 18, an official release said.
Large number of devotees from Telangana and other states, including Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, are thronging the remote hamlet bursting at seams once in two years during the jatara. The police expect about 1.25 crore people and the arrival of 3.5 lakh private vehicles and 4,000 RTC buses.
As the crowds began swelling, the state government pitched in making arrangements for the devotees.
Over 9,000 police personnel drawn from various districts are deployed as part of jatara duties, officials said adding a total of 382 CCTVs, two drone cameras, 20 display boards and huge command control centre to monitor the jatara round-the-clock were put in place.
The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) expects to transport nearly 30 lakh people operating 4,000 buses while the rest are expected to arrive by 3.5 lakh private vehicles.